Sunday, January 4, 2009
Nitro 1989, left to right: T.J. Racer, Jim Gillette, Michael Angelo Batio, Bobby Rock
In case you've never had the pleasure of hearing it, Nitro's 1989 album, "O.F.R." is a truly amazing, singular piece of heavy metal history. Observe the video on yesterday's post (below) for proof. Vocalist Jim Gillette had a searing falsetto that could literally shatter crystal (he often did it as a gimmick at concerts), and guitarist Michael Angelo Batio's work with Nitro established him as one of the fastest, craziest shredders of all time. I decided to do a little research on what the members of Nitro are up to TODAY, 20 years after the release of the magnificent "O.F.R.". They released another album in '91 with a couple lineup changes, but for the sake of brevity, I figured I'd keep it to Nitro Mark I, the classic lineup found on the classic album.
-JIM GILLETTE (Vocals)
Above: Jim prepares to totally shatter a mega-expensive crystal goblet. Because he CAN.
Gillette caused a minor stir on the internet awhile back with this 8-second video of him exercising his 4 octave range (he has claimed up to 6 in the past). Observe:
Before Nitro, L.A. native Jim sang in the glam-metal acts Slut and Tuff, followed by an eponymous solo project where, in 1987, he met future Nitro axeman Michael Angelo Batio. The two remained the only constant members of Nitro until their breakup in 1993. After Nitro, Gillette realized the ultimate 80's rocker fantasy by marrying heavy metal wankmistress Lita Ford. They are married to this day and have two kids.
In 2001, Jim released the album "Ultra Violent" with his band Organ Donor. I've never heard it. Honestly, I hope I NEVER hear it. No offense, Jim. He also began mixed martial arts training with the famous Gracie family in recent years, and got TOTALLY FUCKING YOKED using Scott Sonnon's Circular Weight Training System. I hope he didn't stretch out his tattoos too much!
Above: Modern day Jim Gillette, hella TORQUED and ready to thrown down UFC style.
-T.J. RACER (Bass)
Milwaukee native T.J. (real name Tony Brehmer) is a bit of an enigma. Last anyone heard, he was giving bass lessons in the Los Angeles area, but I tracked down two Hollywood-area bands with a "T.J. Racer" on bass. The first, Kenny James and The Gang, is an awful alternative pop-metal band with no website or Myspace page. All I found was this video on Youtube, although the bass player seems a bit too young and scrawny to be an awesome 80's rocker:
Right: Is it him?
The second band is a "psychedelic funk" project called The Circle. They are truly terrible. Pictures of the band feature the douchey singer prominently, but the only picture I could find of the bass player is all hair (and out of focus). But I'm pretty sure it's him. It seems like if you had any common sense, you would capitalize on the fact that you have a dude from Nitro in your band, possibly even to the point of calling it The T.J. Racer From Nitro Band. Whatever.
Check out awful band The Circle here.
Left: The singer for The Circle poses with his awesome mohawk and Lamborghini. Please note personalized "CIRCLE" license plate.
-BOBBY ROCK (Drums)
Bobby Rock is a self-proclaimed Renaissance Man. Born in Livermore, CA, he eventually attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston before joining the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Next was his brief stint in Nitro before he moved on to work with Nelson, Brunette and Hardline. He also toured with Slaughter.
Mr. Rock has turned himself into a mystical vegan fitness guru in the last few years, touting his wares on his website, Bobby Rock's Cyber Universe.
Currently, Bobby plays drums for virtuoso shreddificator Gary Hoey and a band called Carnival of Souls. He also performs a touring drum clinic, teaching aspiring rockers to jam down Nitro style from coast to coast. His drumset is fucking ridiculous (right).
Curiously enough, he is also a "prolific" author (his words), penning five books, at least one of which being on the subject of "hypothetical erotica". If you feel the need to learn more about this concept, click here. He also claims to be working on a pilot for a cable TV show on the subject.
Below: Renaissance Man Bobby Rock
-MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO (Guitar)
Possibly the best-known member of Nitro, Michael Angelo (MAB to his fans) has built an empire on instructional videos, capitalizing on his fame as one of the top shredders of all time. The ambidextrous axe-ripper started his career in Chicago as a jazz musician, farming out his talents to companies such as KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
He went pro in 1984 when he joined ex-Steppenwolf vocalist Tommy Holland's band, Holland, but found his calling years later, tearing up double- and quadruple-necked guitars in Nitro. After 1993, he began his successful solo career, releasing several albums and DVDs. Check out a glimpse of MAB's instructional shreddery below:
In addition to his CDs and DVDs, MAB is also a guitar teacher to the stars, giving lessons to douchewands like Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Mark Tremonti of shitty Christian alterna-rockers Creed. Rumor has it he is releasing a new DVD, entitled "The Neoclassical Power Approach", sometime in early 2009. I can hardly contain myself.
Below: New, custom Batio guitar by Dean. For some reason it only has one neck.
Bonus: Get this shit NOW!!!
NITRO - O.F.R. (1989)
(It stands for "Out-Fucking-Rageous")